Federal Opposition House Leader Candice Bergen says the country's canola producers are paying for what she calls Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's mismanagement of Canada's international relationships.
The Conservative Member of Parliament for Portage-Lisgar is referring to China's decision this week to cancel the export contract for Richardson International. Bergen feels this was a retaliatory move related to Canada's ongoing dispute with China. China claims the decision follows issues it raised for months about non-compliant shipments, namely that they had within them pests that were prohibited.
"This certainly is something that China does, they put up these non-tariff barriers quite often (and) they're not based on evidence," said Bergen. "We know that Canadian canola is amongst the safest, if not the safest, in the world and so this barrier is not based in reality it's just China being mad at Canada and Trudeau is not handling it well."
Bergen accuses the Prime Minister of not doing anything to try to solve this relationship breakdown that she says he caused.
"So, who's left out in the cold? Who's left having to pay the price? Canadian farmers, specifically western Canadian farmers and certainly Manitoba canola growers, and it's not right."
The Manitoba MP also feels Canada's current agriculture cabinet is weak and un-informed and says this is another reason the country needs a Conservative government that understands the value of rural Canada and its farmers.
"We know in Southern Manitoba it's not just the producers themselves, but we have a lot of manufacturing and value-added businesses that will be affected by this," said Bergen. "This goes to the heart of what we are doing in Southern Manitoba."
"Our producers are smart, they're resilient and they're accustomed to some of these things but they're also used to a government that will stand up for them and go to battle for them," she added.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, who is in her first week as Canada's newest Minister of Agriculture, says her top priority is to deal with this situation.
Meantime, Bergen feels Prime Minister Trudeau is "completely pre-occupied with trying to save his own skin" on the SNC Lavalin scandal that's been brewing in Ottawa over the past few weeks.
"I don't think he is at all concerned or caring about what is happening with canola in Canada and the effect this decision by China is having on canola producers."
About 40% of Canada's canola exports go to China, totalling $2.5 billion a year.